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of the year. >> the president and leader reid said social security should be off the table. what's your reaction to that? >> all of the entitlements need to be discussed, because they on an unsustainable path. medicare is in more immediate danger. we want to save these programs and i understand the dilemma that the president and thethey don't want to change anything. well, times change. and until we make sure these popular entitlement programs fit the demographics of the changingit's simple math. what we have lacked so far is the political courage to do what needs to be done. look, i'm not happy about divided government. i would rather have a republican president, republican senate and republic house. good things about divided government, it's the best time to do really hard stuff and i'll give you four good examples. did the comprehensive tax reform. clinton, welfare reform and balanced the budget for multiple years in the late 1990's. this is the perfect time to solve single biggest problem confronting our country and we are anxious to sit down and get the job done. \[inaudible questi
. it started with harry reid appointing me to the simpson- bowles commission -- 18 members. i thought this was another commission who'd work product would be lost in history and on a dusty shelf or buried in some hard drive. it turned out to be a historic effort and a game changer -- mainly through the good work of erskine bowles and ellen simpson with hard work that was put into this by 18 members, evenly divided among house and senate democrats and republicans and six public members. 11 of us voted for the final work product. i was invited to join the gang of six to continue the conversation on simpson-bowles. it expanded to the gang of eight. the conversation has been going on for two years. that is a lot of popcorn in mark warner's office. it was a great education and effort to sit across the table from conservative senators and talk through not just the reality of the deficit but the political reality of the deficit, which we have to be more sensitive to if we are looking for an honest solution. some of my friends on the left came to visit. i recall one -- the labor leader who sa
and part of the gang. thank you for joining us. >> senate leaders spoke with reporters. harry reid said republicans are holding up a deal on the so- called fiscal cliff. republicans said they do not understand why democrats are looking to change the rules on filibusters. this is 20 minutes. >> we had a meeting with the four leaders up here at the white house, it went very well. the problem was that was before thanksgiving. and since that time, there has been little progress with the republicans, which is a disappointment to me. we only have a couple of weeks to get something done. we have to get away from the happy talk and start talking about specific things. and one month taxes are set to rise for all americans. we passed in the -- we passed in the senate a piece of legislation to protect people making less than $250,000 a year. we have rejected on a bipartisan basis the republicans' efforts to extend the tax cuts for everybody. those are the two majors we have dealt with on the senate floor. if we fail to reach an agreement, the average middle- class family will see their taxes go up
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